The Upland Hardwood Ecosystem Team now has recommendations for revisions to your cooperative’s Upland Hardwood Indicators. These changes are now open for comment until December 22nd. You can either comment at the bottom of this post or email me directly (

Here are the proposed changes to the Upland Hardwood Indicators:

Index of upland hardwood birds

This index represents a variety of ecosystem features and is already being modeled and monitored for the entire region by the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture.

Proposed change: Add two species to improve consistency with the new Piedmont Bird Conservation Plan from the Atlantic Coast Joint Venture: American Woodcock and Eastern Whip-poor-will. Remove two species: Cerulean Warbler (due to it’s extremely small range in the South Atlantic) and Louisiana Waterthrush (due to it occurring only in places classified as the forested wetland ecosystem). The potential habitat models for the remaining species in the index define increasingly restrictive constraints on potential habitat:

Species-based constraints are:
1. Wood thrush (1 ha minimum patch), Whip-poor-will (Exclude forest interior with 250m into them)
2. Hooded warbler (15 ha minimum patch), American woodcock (Within 125m of ecotone edge)
3. Acadian flycatcher (40 ha minimum patch), Kentucky warbler (17 ha minimum patch in wet hardwoods)
4. Swainson’s warbler (350 ha minimum patch within 250m of water)

Abundance of big trees

Abundance of big trees was meant to indicate older stands in more mature condition; however, currently available monitoring information and models of tree height could not depict this indicator at a fine enough spatial resolution to serve as an indicator. This will likely change in the next few years once there is LiDAR data for the entire South Atlantic region. This indicator will be reconsidered in future Indicator revision processes as new data become available. Testing is underway to see how well the current suite of indicators capture areas in more mature condition.

Proposed change: Remove indicator for failure to meet practical criteria

Index of urban open space (new cultural indicator)

This indicator represents the ability of this ecosystem to connect urban residents and nature through nearby open space, is easily modeled and monitored, and is widely understood by diverse partners

Proposed change: This new proposed cultural indicator uses the impact of open space protection and proximity on property values to measure one way the ecosystem helps connect urban residents to nature. The index uses increasingly restrictive limits on distance and ecosystem protection:

  1. 1600 m (1 mile) from urban – Any non-urban area
  2. 1600 m (1 mile) from urban – Protected area
  3. 800 m (.5 mile) from urban – Any non-urban area
  4. 800 m (.5 mile) from urban – Protected area
  5. 400 m from urban – Any non-urban area
  6. 400 m from urban – Protected area

The values above were all based on impacts of open space on property values in the peer reviewed literature:
1 mile: Acharya and Bennett (2001), Breffle et al. (1998), Geoghegan (2002), Geoghegan  et al. (2003)
0.5 mile: Breffle et al. (1998)
400 m: Acharya and Bennett (2001), Irwin and Bockstael (2001), Ready and Abdalla  (2005), Walsh (2004)

View all the data layers

Indicators to be used to calculate Upland Hardwood integrity: